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Thread: When you take on too much...

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    mrs.b is offline Count / Countess
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    Default When you take on too much...

    What do you do? How do you balance? I know I'm preaching to the choir and most of you have families, jobs, and various other obligations, so I'm curious how you balance it when you let enthusiasm (or impatience to "just be done") convince you that you can take on far more than is realistic?

    In addition to a full-time job that also requires 10-40 hours a week of communication with employees and customers at night and on weekends, I have a husband who travels for his work and special-needs child that cannot just entertain himself when Mommy's doing homework and studying. So why - honestly, why?! - did I think it was a good idea to sign up for two regular courses, an e-pack course/exam, a TECEP, a DSST, two Penn Foster courses, and a self-paced Colorado-Pueblo upper level course? The last four are self-paced, but I really need to finish them by the end of this semester (end of December) if I'm going to stick to my designed time line to apply for graduation at the end of June because I have two more Penn Foster courses and two more Colorado-Pueblo courses planned to start in January in addition to three more courses at TESC. Why do I have my sights set on being done at the end of June? Money, mainly, particularly with TESC raising tuition for future enrollment.

    Am I insane? (That one is rhetorical, don't feel obligated to answer.) How do you strike that balance between motivated and ridiculous and exhausted (did I mention I'm averaging only three hours of sleep a night to get it all done)?
    Last edited by mrs.b; 10-22-2011 at 02:44 PM. Reason: Forgot about the DSST exam I'm supposed to be studying up.

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    cookderosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrs.b View Post
    What do you do? How do you balance? I know I'm preaching to the choir and most of you have families, jobs, and various other obligations, so I'm curious how you balance it when you let enthusiasm (or impatience to "just be done") convince you that you can take on far more than is realistic?

    In addition to a full-time job that also requires 10-40 hours a week of communication with employees and customers at night and on weekends, I have a husband who travels for his work and special-needs child that cannot just entertain himself when Mommy's doing homework and studying. So why - honestly, why?! - did I think it was a good idea to sign up for two regular courses, an e-pack course/exam, a TECEP, two Penn Foster courses, and a self-paced Colorado-Pueblo upper level course? The last three are self-paced, but I really need to finish them by the end of this semester (end of December) if I'm going to stick to my designed time line to apply for graduation at the end of June because I have two more Penn Foster courses and two more Colorado-Pueblo courses planned to start in January in addition two three more courses at TESC. Why do I have my sights set on being done at the end of June? Money, mainly, particularly with TESC raising tuition for future enrollment.

    Am I insane? (That one is rhetorical, don't feel obligated to answer.) How do you strike that balance between motivated and ridiculous and exhausted (did I mention I'm averaging only three hours of sleep a night to get it all done)?
    I don't think you're insane though if it matters. Insane people don't know their insane, so that's a plus.
    I tend to do the bi-polar credit earning approach. (I made that up) where I decide I need to earn 12 credits this month-work like hell, then burn out, then do nothing for a month, then freak out and enroll in a new program, then drop out, then take 20 more credits, then freak out, then consider changing careers, then re-enrolling, then ...... So, clearly, I have no answers, just compassion. :P
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    mrs.b is offline Count / Countess
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookderosa View Post
    I don't think you're insane though if it matters. Insane people don't know their insane, so that's a plus.
    I tend to do the bi-polar credit earning approach. (I made that up) where I decide I need to earn 12 credits this month-work like hell, then burn out, then do nothing for a month, then freak out and enroll in a new program, then drop out, then take 20 more credits, then freak out, then consider changing careers, then re-enrolling, then ...... So, clearly, I have no answers, just compassion. :P
    Bi-polar credit earning approach... I like it! I think that's the road I'm on, and am struggling to keep motivated to avoid that burnout. I did that cycle once before, and it took four years and a concern that my employer was reevaluating credentials of existing employees to get back in gear. (After enrolling, I learned they were just doing a survey and are not basing any decisions on it, so job is not at risk.)

    I appreciate the compassion. I definitely knew I was not alone in the struggle; most of the members I've seen post regularly here have families, whether children of their own or parents and siblings they work to help support, and have scheduling concerns. You've got homeschooling your children added to your plate, which is a goal of ours as well, and admittedly another motivation to finish my degree so I can shoot for more money so my husband can stay home (he's the one who feels most equipped to homeschool of the two of us, and has some side business prospects he could run out of the house). I think I'm mainly feeling guilty today. Hubby is out of town and I spent the last twenty minutes trying to talk my kiddo into taking a nap because I need one before I look at another page in a book.

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    Mrs. B - we are in the same boat lol. I work full time and travel... I have 5 kids, homeschooling the oldest two and my stepdaughter. This part isn't as bad as it sounds, because the older two don't take a lot of time and my step-daughter is using an online academy, so I don't plan out the lessons, but it still adds to the work on my plate. I also travel enough to comfortably maintain frequent flyer status, not to mention I am in the process of working on a dual-language MBA. Oh and my "hobby" for the fall is canning and preserving organic fruits and veggies so that I can buy cheap in bulk from a local farmer and feed it to the family for the winter. This takes up a TON of time on the weekends though it is something that DH and I like to do together. (as nerdy as that sounds)

    I feel like I am totally TOTALLY in over my head and have been a little bit stressed out lately. I manage to juggle everything as long as nothing unexpected comes up and on those days, I have a rough time.

    The area that suffers the most is cleaning the house, so I've compensated by getting a little bit extra paid help with the housework and strictly enforcing the chores that the kids have always been expected to do. I'm also leaning on DH a little bit more than I used to, especially when I have a big paper due.

    Perhaps the hardest thing is that it's tough finding anyone at all that can relate to my workload.... friends don't really understand that when I say I'm busy and can't go to a party, I am not lying. I really am busy and no, it's not an excuse. Most people have no idea how much work can go into writing a paper, lol, especially one in another language - that usually takes me quite a bit more time. Luckily I have the best DH in the world and he'll happily sit next to me on the couch while I'm on my laptop and he's on his.. usually that means that we're up really late every night and no I don't sleep a lot anymore.

    I know that this difficult period in my life will be worth it and I'm glad my kids see me studying and working hard. I hope that I'm setting a good example and even if my social life right now is non-existent, any free time I have is totally dedicated to my family, which is more important to me.
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    mrs.b is offline Count / Countess
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    burbuja - I'm jealous of the canning! It's something I've never been able to get right. If we're going to admit to nerdy habits, though, couponing is mine. My husband and I spend quality time with scissors, print-outs, our laptops, and store flyers. We're not extreme (no spare bedrooms stuffed with years-worth of laundry detergents and boxes of cereal in preparation for the Apocalypse...if it cannot fit in normal cabinetry and get used within a month or two, we do not buy it) but if we pay more than 50 percent of the store bill, we tend to get cranky. That's part of the preparation for him to quit his job, too. And it's addicting! It takes up a few hours every few weeks to prepare for a shopping trip, but it's worth it since it typically saves us $200-600 a month in groceries.

    So how do you juggle all that? I've got the detailed, day-by-day study plan with assignments marked in, but sticking to it requires hours of lost sleep. I can't imagine tossing in that courseload in another language. I'd definitely crack (more than I may or may not have already)!

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    I don't have kids but I have friends with kids and I have seen various approaches to feeding those little beasts. Some approaches save more time than others. I would recommend making large freezable meals over the weekend that can be heated up in the microwave for meals during the week.
    Pot roasts cook themselves, meat loaf is easy, lasagna is simple and tastes great with some texas toast in the toaster oven and a fresh salad.
    Don't spend 2 hours cooking every night like some people do.
    Don't mow the lawn or do deep house cleaning or pressure washing. Pay someone to do that.
    Stop wasting time on the internet, going to yard sales, watching tv, talking on the phone with friends about your day etc.
    My hobby is studying now and I keep thinking of the end goal so thats what gets me through it.

    I have no idea how it is to raise kids while doing this stuff so I can only imagine.
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    burbuja0512's Avatar
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    @Ryoder... yes you are totally correct. While I am doing all of my weekend canning and dehydrating during harvest season, I usually have several other things cooking in preparation for the upcoming week. What saves me is the fact that I work from home. I don't know how I would fit everything in if I didn't. I can literally be on a call with a client, using my cordless phone, and getting the crockpot going if I didn't already have something ready that I made on Sunday. Lol.. I don't usually do that, but I can if I want to. Not to mention that I don't have to get ready on days that I don't travel. Yes I still wear makeup every day, but I stick to shorts and a t-shirt in the summer and jeans and a sweatshirt in the winter.
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    Mrs.b, No hubby, no kids, no pets (okay, some dust bunnies), no (real) travel for work, so I really can't relate, but you have my sympathy. Like Cookderosa, I've done the bi-polar education thing. If you're writing for support and sympathy, you have it. If you're asking if you've taken on a lot, maybe too much, only you can answer that. If you have, then readjust. You will not be taken out and shot at dawn if you move your graduation date. You're working for a goal - and it ain't a nervous breakdown. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, so just do what YOU need to do to achieve your goal. Good luck.
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    Doing courses was definitely a lot harder than taking one or two associated exams at a time. With exams, you can get around the syllabus, take practice exams, test and adjust and pretty much choose when to blitz out a study session. Courses are much more of an on-going commitment with all those recurring deadlines :/

    Fortunately, you have some self-paced courses and some instructor-led/regular courses in addition to exams. If you are going to do all of them, then you roughly know what your priorities are. Focus on getting the regular coursework completed as soon as it becomes available. If there are discussion boards, where possible be the first student to get your work out there. Then you can sit back and look at the self-paced courses and see what needs to be done. Have you set a date for the TECEP yet?

    It looks like your education schedule is going to roughly work around the regular courses. If there is weekly coursework, get that done immediately then move on to the self-paced coursework. Rinse and repeat every week and this is all potentially manageable for you. They say a change is as good as a break, so if you find yourself getting stressed by one course, have a cup of tea and switch to another subject for a while. If any of the courses/exams have overlap, then maximise this opportunity!

    Look at all your final deadlines, work out what absolutely needs to be submitted and when. If you can thresh out a plan now, then you might find that knowing what's required of you will make everything bearable.

    Good luck to you and your family!

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    mrs.b is offline Count / Countess
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    @ Laterbloomer: I appreciate the reality check. You're right that I don't need to prove anything to anyone (something I frequently remind myself of, since setting goofy goals is a habit of mine). My timeline is mainly fueled by finances, though, particularly with the tuition increase I'll be subject to if I take any longer than June to complete everything. We just cannot afford another enrollment fee, much less an increased one. I'm not certain if I was seeking confirmation that I'm not an oddball (well, I know I am, but no more than the rest here!) or affirmation that the study load was reasonable. I think I was mainly in a whiny and procrastinating mood, but it's out of my system now and I spent the bulk of yesterday knocking out some assignments and studying, which took a bit of the pressure off. For that, I appreciate the patient "ear" so I could get it off my chest and refocus!

    @ ryoder: Don't worry about the housecleaning time conflict. I'm going to start naming the dustbunnies, soon. (Okay, it's not that bad.) My husband is fantastic, and has taken up a lot of the house burden while I plow through courses. He does the majority of the cooking, cleaning, yard work, and everything else, and also cannot wait until I'm done so we can return to our usual chore split. But he doesn't complain. When he is out of town, I do what I can without risking assignment deadlines, and the rest waits. Bulk cooking is something I've never mastered, but it is an idea I'd forgotten about and should re-examine for a bit more time management. Thanks for that reminder!

    @ irnbru: I've steered away from testing options due to a testing phobia (fainting at the test center does not promote that warm, fuzzy "I finished a class!" feeling), but after contemplating my course load over the weekend, I think I'm just going to work on getting over that, because testing is easier and faster, with less of a time burden. I have not yet set the TECEP date, but I'm now pushing hard to finish these self-paced courses first to get them off my plate, then look at the TECEP and DSST exam. And some of the other courses I planned to take at Colorado-Pueblo and Penn Foster, I'm looking at test options for those now. Trying to multitask them all as courses at the same time just wasn't working. I may need to see my doctor for some anti-anxiety meds, but that's probably better than driving myself to burnout with all those courses at once.

    Thanks all! I think I just needed to get the whining out of my system. Today seems much sunnier after refocusing yesterday!

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